A nostalgic love story written with the phenomenal Coffee House of College Street, Kolkata as the backdrop.
It was you who first brought the message of Love within. Relishing over a cup of coffee sitting at the ‘Coffee House’, my eyes first met you. You occupied a corner table, engrossed in reading a novel. While sipping coffee from the white coffee cup, you flipped the pages between your fingers. The imprint of your coffee smeared lips around the neck of the coffee cup showed how much you were relishing it. There wasn’t any crowd around. My eyes were fixed at you from a little distance, though you were totally unaware of being drooled over. Your black sari complemented your fair skin with such grace! Your hair was left loose. Occasionally a lock twirled over your face and without even breaking the flow of your reading, you adjusted it behind your ear. The little jhumkas on your ears dangled each time your head moved. Over your head was a pair of sunglasses which seemed to give your hair some support like a hairband from falling over your face. So charming you look, so elite are your ways! Like any blooming teen, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I was in love. Love blossomed between each sip of yours into the coffee cup and started building its kingdom. You left after a while. But I still sat there for sometime being lost in your thoughts.
The next day at the same time I went there. I carried a letter for you, but you were not there. A day passed and then another and then the third. But you never showed up. I felt dejected. My hopes to meet you again seem to fade amidst the passing noise of the tram, the sweltering heat and dust of Calcutta. Calcutta, do you care? Shall I ever see her again? My heart whimpered. But Calcutta stayed mum. And I heard no answer. Months passed and then years. I graduated from school to college and then to work. My quest to meet you continued, but my eyes failed to catch a glimpse of yours.
Today thirty years later, just like any other day, I sat on my stipulated table drinking my coffee and silently observed the life around, trying to feel their stories. By now, even the turban clad waiters in white uniforms serving coffee, started recognizing my face and the table I would occupy. I had become a known customer, yet you just refuse to show up. My patience is giving way to frustration. While I was drowned in these thoughts, I noticed a lady enter and occupy a table opposite mine. She took out a novel from her hand bag and started reading it while sipping her cup of coffee. She looked conventionally beautiful and somehow she reminded me of you. I silently kept stealing glances at her.
These thirty years had turned me a little aged. My hair had turned in the hues of salt and pepper. I am no longer a sprightly teen but a man who is overburdened with responsibilities.
A little girl ran towards her calling, ‘Mumma!’ As she lowered a little to pick the girl on her lap, a twirl of her hair fell over her face. She adjusted it behind her ear. I saw a pair of Ray Ban Sunglasses resting over her head.
The letter lies crushed and unread in one of the folds of my bag.
Note: I had scribbled this thought impromptu over a few paper napkins which I took from the Coffee House and from a nearby table I borrowed a pen from a customer while having a cup of coffee at ‘The Indian Coffee House’, College Street, Calcutta on Saturday, March 03, 2013.
Pic courtesy: Morguefile
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